Posts Tagged ‘Manchester City

14
Jan
09

City goes for £100m Brazilian, owch.

The funniest story this morning is that City offered £91m for Kaka, Gattuso, and Dida.  Gattuso is injured and Dida is shite, so, let’s be honest and just admit that this is a $100m bid for Kaka. Now, depending on who you read, Kaka is either willing to talk to City or has rejected them outright. City is trying their level best to get to the player by offering him an after tax salary of £13m but when Kaka’s agent publicly says

Kaka wouldn’t do anything based on money. He would never do something like Robinho, who, just to earn more, contented himself with a solution that was not a winning one. (emphasis added)

I rather doubt the player will be tempted.

Honestly though, it’s not the money, it’s not that City are struggling to stay in the Premier League, it’s that established Italian players do not want to come to England in the prime of their careers and have their legs broken by the Mathew Taylor’s and Kevin Davies and Joey Barton’s in this league. Add in that the pace of the game and demands of English football are harder than in Italy, that the English refs are biased against foreigners, and the food and culture is continuously a sore spot and really, even £14m after tax isn’t enough.

In Italy he’s a god. In England, he’s a great player on “the other Manchester team.”

Which leads us to Arsenal target Andrei Arshavin. Sadly, news reports are circulating now that say Inter are getting involved in the bidding and if true I think we have to say our hopes for landing the player have diminished. I really wish Arsene would just look elsewhere for a player. Dealing with Zenit is distasteful at the least and at best it’s starting to look like they are using Arsenal to get the max they can from Inter or City after the Kaka deal falls through.

The team would be better served if they would spend their time on getting a player in, for a reasonable fee, who would shore up the defensive end of the squad. Hangelaand is often linked, a defensive midfielder maybe, you know, that kind of player. Maybe if you want to get realy crazy, recall Traore from Pompey and have him compete for Eboue’s spot.

Cesc Hates Football

Ok, not really, but Cesc did make a rather incredible statement in the match program on Saturday against Bolton and rather than cut it up, let me just give it to you whole

Of course I love watching Arsenal, and I will never miss a game when I can help it, but apart from that I’m just forgetting about everything to do with football. Even my girlfriend is surprised because it’s unusual for me, but to be honest when it comes to football at the moment, I am off it until I can start to get fit again.

I just have to be patient and try to enjoy a holiday. In the last five years I haven’t been able to take any type of holiday because even during the summer I have been playing for the national team, so it’s been constant.

I think in six years I’ve only ever had three consecutive weeks without football. That’s not normal for a 21 year-old. For Arsenal and Spain at all levels I think I have played 270 games – for a 21 year-old that’s not normal so I guess at one stage this had to happen. I want to relax as much as possible, and I’m sure I will come back stronger

Wenger gave Cesc some time off to start the season but clearly it wasn’t enough. I think we all saw a dip in form for Cesc at that time and now we know why, he’s burned out on football. I don’t know what Cesc is thinking but it looks to me like the burden that Wenger put on the young man, playing him 250 times before the age of 21 has started to tell. We all have to hope that these 4 months off see him return refreshed and hungry.

I’d also hope that Wenger sees this statement and understands that we need to bring in some experienced players rather than just throw Wilshere, Vela, and Ramsey out there to the wolves.

Yes, for those keeping tabs, I have changed my mind here.

Rapid Links

Simpson is doing well, winning matches, and earning plaudits from W.B.A. He supposedly scored a great goal, anyone have a link? I’d love to see Simpson help W.B.A. stay up this season and then be recalled back into the Arsenal team and give Ade some competition for his target man spot up front.

Spuds are being cautious with Appiah and will test him out tonight in a friendly to see if they want to sign him permanently.  I have to think that there’s something really, really wrong with him if the normally profligate Spurs are being so cautious. So, erm, good job not signing Appiah, Wenger!

Howard Webb admits he was wrong. No, not about the piss poor refereeing at Old Trafford but about his piss poor refereeing in a Wolves/Birmingham FA Cup match where he admitted that he failed to give a penalty for a clear violation. Now, if we could only get him to admit that he’s Wayne Rooney’s bitch we’d all be better off. “Best ref in England?” That’s an insult to England.

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03
Sep
08

DIC A DUG

For the last week almost, I’ve been writing an article on Platini’s proposal to get rid of debt in football. The article was mostly done on Sunday as I lazed around my living room basking in the labor day weekend. Then, as you all know, the transfer window shut, nothing happened with Arsenal, there was huge fan fallout, and I felt compelled to write the piece I did yesterday about how we all need to put our egos to bed and let Arsene get on with the managing of the team for us.

But something else happened on Monday, a proverbial left footed rocket across the bow of the good ship EPL — the ripples of which are still being felt.  Sometime over this weekend, Manchester City changed hands and as soon as it did, their new owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), signalled their intent in the transfer market.  Brushing aside former world powerhouses Chelsea, they swooped in and signed Robinho for £32.5m.  When that happened, I said to my friend “I bet they just made him the highest paid player in the EPL.”  And yesterday, it turned out to be true.  According to the Mail, ADUG is going to pay Robinho an astonishing £160,000 per week.  Frank Lampard is probably binging on pie over the knowledge that his playboy billionaire can no longer make him the most ludicrously paid sports star in England.

The thing that’s really shocking, though, is that ADUG tabled seemingly dozens of bids all at once for some of the biggest names in football.  Ruud van Nistelrooy, not nearly in his prime any more, is one name that came up but other names include Huntelaar, Eto’o, and Berbatov.  Supposedly, they bid for them all in one day!  How much truth there is to all this, we don’t know at this point but we do have Al-Fahim (ADUG’s head) in his own words saying that he thinks £135m January bid for Christiano Ronaldo is not out of the question.

Ronaldo has said he wants to play for the biggest club in the world, so we will see in January if he is serious.  Real Madrid were estimating his value at $160 million (roughly £90m) but for a player like that, to actually get him, will cost a lot more; I would think $240 million (£135m). But why not? We are going to be the biggest club in the world, bigger than both Real Madrid and Manchester United.

He’s not stopping there, either.  Next year he wants to pair Ronaldo (not the fat one) with Ronaldinho, Torres, Fabregas, and Lionel Messi.  Why Kaka isn’t mentioned yet, I haven’t a clue; maybe Football Manager 2008 is missing Kaka?

Obviously, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw these quotes because they relay both a naivete and an arrogance that will not serve him well.  Saying that you’re going to tempt Manchester United’s resolve in January with a bid for Christiano Ronaldo is, well, just plain ignorant.  Next summer?  Yes, Ronaldo will be on the table and yes it will cost something like £100m to get him.  But I can’t imagine what Ronaldo’s value to Man U will be in January.  It’s the home stretch, they’ll be playing for Champions League trophies and they will need their best player to help them to win.  He’s not transfering out in January.  Sir Alex Ferguson will take a pen to Ronaldo’s skull and physically kill him before he lets him go in January.

Similarly, his proclamation that Manchester City is going to be bigger than Man U and Real Madrid is naive. Chelsea have proved that to some extent.  Chelsea, remember, claimed they were going to be the biggest club in the world by 2014.  Two years in to their plan and they aren’t even the biggest club in England.  So, it looks to me that for all intents and purposes Manchester City’s new owner is a blowhard who doesn’t really understand football, football fans, transfer rules, or really how anything works in the EPL.  Again, that’s a huge sigh of relief.

Still, while I’m relieved that he’s a moron, I’m very nervous because I do think that his money will have a massively disrupting influence.  Since there will always be mercenary footballers out there (Robinho) Man City will always be able to disrupt deals.  Like they just did.  Man City just pulled a Chelsea on Chelsea and to me that was the biggest shot across the bow.  The club who, up until Monday, was able to lure players away with outrageous salary promises, who were able to buy players for double the transfer fee that rival teams like Arsenal had offered, was nipped by the new guys on the block, at their own game.  

In a sense, my Platini article foresaw this.  Basically, in the article I argue that Platini’s right that debt is bad and that debt will be the undoing of many of these teams but that his plan to basically cut them off from what is keeping them afloat would only accelerate the inevitable: some rich guy will pay off the team’s debts and the team will keep going.  Face facts, Manchester United is too big to be relegated or go into bankruptcy.  No, they have too much operating income to have that happen.  Sure, they are swamped with debt right now, but if someone came in and bought the team and thus cleared the books, all that income that’s going toward debt suddenly is profit.  Liverpool is in the same boat, which is why we’re hearing rumors again that Dubai International Capital (DIC) is in to buy Liverpool off their two dottering old clowns.

No, I wrote, just let it happen on its own, there’s no need to go messing with the rules, just let Man U and Liverpool collapse on their own.  Hell, this year Liverpool was a Kuyt hair away from getting kicked out of the Champions League and without that £30m payout, they would have been (technically) insolvent.  As soon as that happens, some smarter rich Arab (who’s been waiting for the right moment) will step in and buy the team.

At least that’s how I saw it all going down.  I just didn’t expect it to be Manchester City, on Monday. 

So, what’s the answer Mr. Laissez Faire?  Well, I’m not really sure.  Here in America we have a love/hate relationship with salary caps.  On the one hand, they have done a pretty good job keeping the NFL a fun, fair league to watch.  But on the other hand, they are simply a mechanism to keep wages artificially low, which is unfair to the players.  If the owners want to bankrupt their team overpaying people and the fans aren’t complaining (Chelsea) why should government get involved?  It’s competition after all.  There isn’t a “goals scored cap” on the season, so why a salary cap?  On the other hand, salary caps work…  That’s three hands.  Hmmm… maybe the third hand is the invisible hand of the market!

In the end, I don’t know the answer: I don’t feel comfortable just leaving it up to the Michel Platini’s of the world but I certainly don’t want to leave it up to the Al-Fahim’s of the world either. There has to be some way to obtain a balance in the Premier League because the 800lb goriila in the room has finally woken up and I’m afraid something will need to be done to calm him down.

02
Sep
08

Feel better?

Breathe in…  exhale… breathe in… exhale…

Now, un-clinch your wringing hands, clap in time, and say it with me: “We love you Arsenal, we do.  We love you Arsenal, we do. We love you Arsenal, we do, ohhh Arsenal we love you!”  Repeat until you stop worrying about the season ahead.

I love Arsenal and I do trust Arsene Wenger.  Maybe I can have this faith because I never played Football Manager, I don’t play Dungeons and Dragons for football fans (fantasy football), and I don’t play any sports on my computers.  Those games are *ahem* simulations, folks.  In real life, Arsene Wenger is arguably the most successful manager Arsenal have ever had.

Moreover, there’s this voyeuristic quality to Arsenal fans right now.  We look at what every other team is doing and want to compare ourselves to them.  That’s unhealthy and only invites a fat tick like Usmanov to jump on board, satisfy your desire to be like Chelsea for a few years while slowly draining the blood from the team.

And to what end?  Chelsea have spent something like £800m in order to win 3 real trophies.  Last season, in fact, they won exactly the same number of trophies that Arsenal won: ZERO.  They have the highest wage bill of any team in the world, they pay ridiculous transfer fees to get players in, they sit those players on the bench to rot, they take huge losses when re-selling, and they have the world’s most classless fans. Is that the kind of team you really want to support?

It’s telling that Jose Mourinho was so desperate for kudos that he counted Milk Cups and Charity Shields when he held up his infamous “6 finger salute” to Roman Abramovich.  He had to, everyone, everywhere knows that £800m Milk Cups don’t make you a big club.  It’s a truly sad day when you have the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard beating up teenagers and taking their Milk money then celebrating as if they had just won the Champions League.  Honestly, why shouldn’t they celebrate like that?  They’ll never win the Champions League, so I guess, like Tottenham, the best they can manage is to win a 5 game tournament against 3rd division teams and Arsenal’s youth team.  No, Chelsea will always be the second best club in London.

Same too with Manchester City.  They can buy all the Robinho’s in the world, they will always be the second best team in Manchester.  Their new owner is so out of touch he believes that they will be in the Champions League next season.  How?  By finishing 4th?  No. Fucking. Way. They have a better shot at winning the FA Cup than finishing 4th.  But of course he thinks that, what does he know about football?  He’s an oil guy, a guy who buys property, and Manchester City is now one of his properties.  A toy for him to play around with.  Tellingly, Al-Fahim has said “I’m the new Abramovich” which means “I’m here to meddle in this thing you all call ‘football’ and see if I can’t buy myself a Champions League trophy.”  Well, like Abramovich he’s got a harsh lesson coming; you cannot buy respect or success.

Finally, who cares if Bobblekopf went to Man U?  It’s another £30m that the club cannot afford, that they had to spend to keep their prawn sandwich fans with their unrealistic expectations in line, and that Tottenham will probably never see.  The player himself is a tremendous talent but a horrible teammate.  I can’t wait to see him dress down Ronaldo.  Oh, it will happen, mark my words.

No, I’d rather have Arsene Wenger and Arsenal FC.  The only thing I have to overcome to fully support this team is my own ego.  My ego tells me that I might know better than Arsene and thus second guess why he didn’t land Alonso.  My ego tells me that I know better than he does when it comes to Eboue, Vela, Nasri, or any others on the team.  It’s my ego, and I suggest, your ego that needs to be put to bed.  This is the team we have, this is the manager we have, these are the owners we have, and you are the fans.  Get behind the team or go support Chelsea: London’s second best football team.

“We love you Arsenal, we do…”

P.S. Kevin Keegan has reportedly tucked tail between his legs and ducked out of the Newcastle spotlight for the second time.  I believe I called it two days ago: relegation is looming now for Newcastle.

02
Feb
08

Citeh v. Arsenal and video recording

mmmm 5am kickoffs, I love em. Last season Doyle’s would open at 5am for these Shitanta early matches, and even once or twice opened at 4am, so I could watch these games live.   But the liquor control board took a dim view of a bar opening before 6am and asked them, politely, not to open that early.  They weren’t serving alcohol mind you, but the liquor control board didn’t want to have to get an inspector out there at 5am to do spot checks to make sure they weren’t serving.  Doyle’s solution was to record the matches and play them on tape delay which meant a 9am replay today.

So, now I’m relegated to either catching the replay at 9am or watching via Sopcast because I’m sure as hell not going to sit here and read the damn match on BBC! The 9am replay was right out as I have practice at 10am. So, I Sopcasted it. And I have to say that the quality of the broadcast was good, the commentary was English, and it had a built-in recording feature so I was able to record a goal and upload it to YouTube.

Sure, it’s the last goal… It’s no Eduardo masterpiece (from Arsenalist.com) but it’s my first video so I’m excited! Expect to see more videos from me in the future now that I can record them so easily.

Anyway, about the match. Last night we learned that Almunia had suffered a thumb injury and so Lehmann would be his replacement. I have to admit that my butthole puckered at the thought of Jens in goal. But as Jens has done his entire career, he surprised a lot of folks. He was pretty solid at the back, he didn’t have a single freakout (of course City only had 1 corner), and he didn’t go apeshit on his teammates when they weren’t absolutely perfect. He looked a humbled man which is not something I thought I would ever say about Jens Lehmann.

The rest of the squad looked so good today I don’t even know where to start. Cesc looked his old self, patrolling the middle of the park and opening up the defense with great passes. Some credit for that has to go to Man City who play an open, attacking brand of football and Arsenal always play so much better against those teams than they do against shit-kicking cunts like Chelsea. Maybe it’s a chicken and egg thing. I’ll have to think on it a while. Whatever the cause, Cesc was great. Here’s to him keeping that form for the rest of the season.

Eduardo had that brilliant goal that I mentioned earlier and that’s exactly what he was brought in to do: score insanely good goals. He hadn’t scored in six matches so it was good to see him get off the snide. Here’s to him getting back into goal scoring form in such a spectacular way.

And then there’s Adebayor. I think this might have been the perfect match to sum up Adebayor’s season. He displays some bad touch, got fouled a couple of times that could have been penalties, displays some poor passing, but then scores two goals. What I think we all need to remember is that this is only his first full season as the starting striker on one of the best teams in the world. He’s playing football against defenses comprised of the world’s top footballers. And he keeps getting better. Some of the criticisms of him have died down but I’d like to appeal to his detractors by simply saying: give him some more time. He’s gotten better every season and I think we have to wait at least one more season until we can fully judge him. Here’s to us all just enjoying what Adebayor is doing right now; 12 goals in 8 consecutive matches.

So, three points and Arsenal are back on top of the table with a well deserved win against a squad that hasn’t lost a match at home all season. Quite a performance and what a way to start the day!

Until tomorrow, Kickers.




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